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MID-ATLANTIC S U M M E R 201 9

PENNSYLVANIA • DELAWARE • WEST VIRGINIA • MARYLAND • VIRGINIA & MORE

MAJESTIC MANSIONS Historic homes and museums

LITERARY LOCALES Sites celebrate Edgar Allan Poe

Grand Retreats Experience the region’s premier treasures

OUTDOOR EXCURSIONS Boundless natural beauty beckons


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CONTENTS

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MID-ATLANTIC

MANSIONS & CASTLES Glimpse grandeur in historic homes

Nemours Estate, Wilmington, Del. NEMOURS ESTATE


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CONTENTS 54

THE REGION

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PENNSYLVANIA

This is a product of

Philadelphia unveils updated attractions throughout the “City of Brotherly Love”

EDITORIAL

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Lancaster County area boosts family-friendly fun factor with plentiful activities

DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council

Virginia Beach LOVEworks

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MANDI FLOWERS-YOST

NEW JERSEY Satisfy your tastebuds with iconic treats you can enjoy while strolling on the boardwalk

UP FRONT

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CASINOS Try your luck at the region’s bounty of gaming options

MUSEUMS

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ON THE COVER The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Savor larger-than-life sights and scenes in the small state

MARYLAND

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Baltimore charms with expansive menu of activities, sites and coastal cuisine

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WASHINGTON, D.C.

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MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com

EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Tracy Scott Forson Harry Lister Sara Schwartz Debbie Williams ISSUE DESIGNER Debra Moore

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Must-see sites examine cultural ancestry and diversity

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DELAWARE

jcouncil@usatoday.com

Stay, eat and relax at the action-packed National Harbor waterfront complex

Get active outdoors and enjoy nature at hot spots around the nation’s capital

DESIGNERS Hayleigh Corkey Amira Martin Gina Toole Saunders Lisa M. Zilka INTERN Ejun Kim CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Diane Bair, Tamar Alexia Fleishman, Erin Gifford, Nancy Monson, Phillip Pantuso, Cheryl Rodewig, Chris Urie, Gina Gallucci White, Kristina Wright, Pamela Wright, Stacey Zable

ADVERTISING VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN

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VIRGINIA Commemorate 400th anniversary of historic state events

pburke@usatoday.com

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Vanessa Salvo | (703) 854-6499 vsalvo@usatoday.com

FEATURE

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LITERARY ALLURE

Celebrate 50 years of love and tourism with a road trip across the Commonwealth

Explore places that celebrate prolific poet Edgar Allan Poe

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FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @USATODAYMAGS

WEST VIRGINIA Experience the past and present at destinations throughout the Mountain State

DELIGHTFUL DRIVE Scenic Blue Ridge Parkway’s natural beauty wows

FACEBOOK: Facebook.com/usatodaymags

FINANCE Billing Coordinator Julie Marco ISSN#0734-7456 A USA TODAY Network publication, Gannett Co. Inc USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are the trademarks of Gannett Co. Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Copyright 2018, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Editorial and publication headquarters are at 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108, and at (703) 854-3400. For accuracy questions, call or send an e-mail to accuracy@usatoday.com.

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UP FRONT | CASINOS

Royal Flush Try your luck at one of many casinos that are part of a growth spurt in the Mid-Atlantic

GETTY IMAGES

By Phillip Pantuso

F

OR DECADES, NEW JERSEY’S Atlantic

City has been the casino epicenter of the East Coast. But in recent years, other states throughout the Mid-Atlantic have approved gambling legislation, and a spate of casinos has popped up in the region. “In the Northeast, we’ve seen the expansion of casinos,” says Gordon Medenica, director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming. “Many states are finding massive revenues and significant new employment.” No longer are bright blinking lights and jackpot dreams limited to the Jersey Shore. Here are five casinos to check out next time you’re feeling lucky in the Mid-Atlantic:

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MGM NATIONAL HARBOR

Oxon Hill, Md. Opened in December 2016, MGM National Harbor is the newest of Maryland’s six casinos, all of which have been built since voters approved a slot machine ballot measure in 2008. National Harbor is just 10 miles south of the White House, and its gleaming white exterior is an aesthetic allusion to the august marble buildings of the nation’s capital. Inside, visitors can roam more than 140,000 square feet of gaming, retail and restaurant space, and spend the night in the 24-story hotel. There’s also a permanent collection of art inspired by the D.C. metro area, including works by Charles Hinman, Margaret Boozer and Sam Gilliam. ▶ mgmnationalharbor.com

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UP FRONT | CASINOS

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LIVE! CASINO & HOTEL

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LIVE! CASINO & HOTEL

Hanover, Md. Live!’s prime location off I-95 between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore has helped make it one of Maryland’s top casinos by revenue. It also puts the property within walking distance of Arundel Mills mall, Maryland’s largest outlet shopping destination. The 24/7/365 casino has all the bells and whistles: some 4,700 machine games, 189 live table games and a 52-table poker room, but it’s known for cultivating an “anything can happen” environment, where customers have been surprised with $100 bills, Teslas and a chance to win trips to outer space by owner David Cordish, according to general manager Travis Lamb. The Live! Hotel and Event Center, located next to the casino, boasts 310 guest rooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, a 4,000-seat performance venue, restaurants and a day spa. ▶ livecasinohotel.com

SANDS CASINO

Bethlehem, Pa. Sands Casino is an emblem of how industry has changed in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Located on a former Bethlehem Steel development site, the Sands was one of five stand-alone casinos awarded a license after the state legalized slot machines in 2004. In addition to a wide variety of slots and screen games, the Sands has more than 200 table games and an outlet mall that connects the casino with its luxury hotel. But the coup de grâce is the 26-table poker room, which is decked out with 19 large-screen TVs, USB ports at every seat, free drinks and a massage service. ▶ pasands.com

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BORGATA HOTEL CASINO & SPA

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THE BORGATA

Atlantic City, N.J. With nine casinos, Atlantic City is still where you’ll find the most action in this region. And the Borgata is a destination unto itself. A towering temple in reflective gold glass, it houses 4,100 slot machines, 200 table games, the largest poker room in Atlantic City and luxury guest rooms and suites. The attached boutique hotel, the Water Club, has five pools, a two-story spa, 18,000 square feet of event space and retail shops galore. The Borgata is a luxury casino, to be sure, but you don’t have to roll deep to get lucky: The one- and two-penny slots historically have had some of the best returns in town. ▶ theborgata.com

SANDS BETHLEHEM

SUCHAT PEDERSON/THE (WILMINGTON, DEL.) NEWS JOURNAL

DOVER DOWNS

Dover, Del. Horse racing is the main attraction at Dover Downs, one of Delaware’s three “racinos.” The track, built in 1969, offers live harness racing from November to mid-April and simulcasts harness and thoroughbred events year-round, with a race and sports book for live gambling and several sports. Beyond racing, casino purists have plenty of gambling options. Dover Downs boasts 2,300 slot machines, 41 tables and an 18-table poker room. Also of note: The 2007 expansion of its AAA Four-Diamond hotel added the upscale Toppers Spa/Salon and made Dover Downs the largest hotel in Delaware. ▶ doverdowns.com


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UP FRONT | MUSEUMS

Heritage and History These must-see sites explore native ancestry By Diane Bair and Pamela Wright

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NTEREST IN ANCESTRY IS high; just ask the

estimated 26 million consumers who have added their DNA to four leading commercial ancestry and health databases, according to MIT Technology Review. That makes this an excellent time to visit one of these cultural heritage sites. If you’re looking to make genealogy come alive, it doesn’t get better than this.

ALAN KARCHMER/NMAAHC

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE Washington, D.C. This 2-year-old museum celebrates the richness and diversity of the African-American experience and how it has shaped the nation. Objects in the collection range from a segregation-era Southern Railway car to a jumpsuit worn by singer James Brown. Allow plenty of time to tour the museum’s temporary exhibits that have featured Oprah Winfrey’s life and global influence and hip-hop photography. Details: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free nmaahc.si.edu

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN Washington, D.C. Located on the National Mall, this expansive museum, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution, holds more than 800,000 objects and a photographic archive dedicated to preserving the history, art and languages of America’s earliest peoples. Details: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Free americanindian.si.edu

VISIT BALTIMORE

NATIONAL GREAT BLACKS IN WAX MUSEUM Baltimore More than 150 life-size, lifelike wax figures and scenes, including a full-size model of a slave ship, are highlights of this eastside Charm City staple. Human replicas represent historical and contemporary personalities of African descent. This 30,000-square-foot (and growing) space that was built in 1983 encompasses a renovated firehouse, a Victorian mansion and two apartment buildings. Details: Open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. $15 greatblacksinwax.org

A. RICKETTS/VISIT PHILADELPHIA

AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM Philadelphia Not all of the enslaved were forced to work in fields; they were also skilled boat-builders, engineers, silversmiths, bricklayers and more. No doubt, a visit here will expand your mind, no matter how much you know about African-American history. Four exhibition galleries interpret the black experience in America from 1619 to the present. Details: Open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. $14 for adults; $10 for ages 4-12, students and seniors aampmuseum.org


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Great

ESTATES Glimpse bygone grandeur at historic homes By Cheryl Rodewig

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OU MIGHT EXPECT TURRETS and medi-

eval tapestries on a Loire Valley tour, but you can find similar splendor stateside throughout the Mid-Atlantic. These large homes were built by larger-than-life personalities. The characters are distinctly American — industrialists, immigrants, entrepreneurs — but the grand estates they left behind shine with Old World charm. And while you can walk through these fantastic castles and mansions and see what life might have been like for the wealthy owners who once lived there, you can’t rent a room for an overnight stay or an extended visit. Fortunately, there are lodging options nearby that will have you feeling like royalty.

Evergreen Museum & Library BALTIMORE On 26 acres with Italianate gardens, Evergreen Museum & Library houses a treasure trove of art, including Chinese porcelain and Degas drawings. But it’s just as much an art piece itself. Renovated and reimagined by a 19th-century railroad family, the mansion fairly dazzles with Tiffany lamps, mosaic floors, silver trim and walnut paneling. The upstairs bathroom is a visitor favorite, with a toilet you could justifiably call a throne: The seat is 23-karat gold. ▶ museums.jhu.edu/evergreen.php STAY: Housed in a restored 1890s mansion, The Ivy Hotel features luxurious rooms, a spa and fine-dining bistro. ▶ theivybaltimore.com

NORMAN BARKER AND JAMES T. VANRENSSELAER


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A Tell-Tale

Tour  

Explore Edgar Allan Poe’s Mid-Atlantic Haunts

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By Kristina Wright

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ONSIDERED TO BE THE father of the American short story, Edgar Allan Poe

helped define the horror, mystery and science-fiction genres and is one of the most iconic literary figures in history. Poe was born in Boston on Jan. 19, 1809, but despite his New England roots, he spent much of his life in the Mid-Atlantic region before his death Oct. 7, 1849, in Baltimore. Whether you’re a fan of the author or are looking for a spooky theme for a road trip, here are several places where Poe’s influence — and his spirit — live on:

EDGAR ALLAN POE MUSEUM

Orphaned at an early age, Poe was taken in by the Allan family of Richmond, Va., and spent his formative years there. Although the state capital is rich in Poe history, and served as both his childhood home and the city where he married his young cousin Virginia in 1836, most of the structures that Poe lived in are no longer standing. The Edgar Allan Poe Museum (poe museum.org) was established more than 100 years ago by Poe collector and researcher James Howard Whitty to pay tribute to the prolific author, his works and his vision. Originally in the Old Stone House, considered to be the oldest building in Richmond, the museum is now housed in three buildings and features a garden that pays homage to his poem To One in Paradise. The museum hosts the most comprehensive collection of Poe’s personal items and memorabilia in the world, including clothing, furniture, original manuscripts, letters, photographs and even a lock of his hair. In addition to tours, the museum hosts readings, book talks, an annual Poe birthday bash and a monthly “Unhappy Hour” event from April to October, in the Enchanted Garden.

Visitors won’t want to miss the museum cats, Edgar and Pluto, the latter named for the feline in Poe’s story, The Black Cat. Both roam freely in the gift shop and garden during business hours.

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EDGAR ALLAN POE’S ROOM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville is just east of the Blue Ridge mountains, about 70 miles from downtown Richmond. Poe spent just shy of a year at the university before a quarrel over financial debts with his adoptive father, John Allan, drove him to leave school and return to Boston. UVA honored the literary legend by restoring his room on campus as it was during his brief stay. Visitors can get a glimpse into the life of young collegiate Poe through a glass door. The room is furnished as it would have been in 1826, and with the press of a button you can hear about Poe’s time at the university. The room number is particularly ironic given the nature of much of Poe’s literary fodder — he is said to have stayed in Room 13, on the West Range. Upkeep of the room falls on the Raven Society, an exclusive campus group founded in 1904 and named after Poe’s famous poem with the black bird as a central character.

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GETTY IMAGES; DEAN KNIGHT; DAN ADDISON/UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA COMMUNICATIONS


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DEER PARK TAVERN

The Deer Park Tavern (deerpark tavern.com) in Newark, Del., wasn’t built until after Poe’s death, but it boasts an amusing anecdote about the writer. On Dec. 23, 1843, after lecturing at the Newark Academy, Poe tumbled from his carriage in front of the St. Patrick’s Inn. Distraught, Poe placed a curse on the inn, saying, “A curse upon this place! All who enter shall have to return!” Legend has it, the patrons of the inn carried Poe into the tavern and celebrated his arrival. Sometime later, St. Patrick’s Inn burned to the ground, and in 1951, Deer Park Tavern was built in its place. The logo of the tavern takes its inspiration from Poe’s poem, The Raven.

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"True! — nervous — very, very dreadfully  nervous I had been and am; but why will you  say that I am mad?" — The Tell-Tale Heart

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EDGAR ALLAN POE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site (nps.gov/edal) includes the unfurnished home at 532 N. 7th St. in Philadelphia, where Poe lived for a time in 1843, and a home adjacent to it that houses Poe exhibits and the Reading Room, where visitors can listen to his stories and poems. Poe’s years in Philadelphia were some of the most significant of his writing career. It was during this time that he published some of his bestknown works, including The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat. “Poe only lived in the city for six years, in five different homes, and this is the only one that still stands,” says Andrew McDougall, a ranger at Independence National Historical Park.

GETTY IMAGES; BIAGIO TOCCI; EDGAR ALLAN POE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE


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EDGAR ALLAN POE HOUSE AND MUSEUM

Poe wrote some of his earliest stories at his Baltimore home on North Amity Street, where he lived from 1833 to 1835 with his aunt, grandmother and two cousins. “Poe House in Baltimore is the oldest Poe House still in existence, as well as the home where Edgar began his professional writing career,” says Enrica Jang, director of Poe Baltimore. The unfurnished house has been well-preserved and features exhibits that tell the story of Poe’s life, and premature death, in Baltimore. In October, the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum (poeinbaltimore. org/museum) hosts an Edgar Allan Poe Festival with live performances, vendors, booksellers and food. EDGAR ALLAN POE COTTAGE The Poe Cottage (bronx historicalsociety.org/poe-cottage)

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in the Bronx in New York has the distinction of being Poe’s final home before his death. He moved into this modest white farmhouse in 1846, along with his wife, Virginia, and mother-in-law, Maria Clemm. Virginia died in the house in 1847 and, two years later, Poe died while on a trip to Baltimore. In 1913, the cottage was purchased by New York City and moved to an adjacent park in 1902. Today, the Bronx Historical Society maintains the home and offers guided and audio tours. During his brief years at the cottage, Poe wrote some of his best-known poems, including, The Bells, Eureka and Annabel Lee.

GETTY IMAGES; EDGAR ALLAN POE HOUSE AND MUSEUM; THE BRONX COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY


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MID-ATLANTIC 24

PENNSYLVANIA

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WASHINGTON, D.C.

Visit refreshed Philly and family-focused Lancaster

Enjoy nature with outings in the nation’s capital

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NEW JERSEY

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DELAWARE

Explore the shore with tasty boardwalk bites

Big fun abounds throughout small state

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VIRGINIA

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WEST VIRGINIA

Mark 50 years of love and historic 400th anniversary

Array of activities await in the Mountain State

40 MARYLAND National Harbor’s diverse waterfront offerings provide something for visitors of all ages. Also, Baltimore entices with history, art, aquatic adventures and much more.

NATIONAL HARBOR CONVENTION AND VISITORS ASSOCIATION


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PENNSYLVANIA | PHILADELPHIA

JOHN JAMES AUDUBON CENTER FOR ART AND CONSERVATION The new John James Audubon Center for Art and Conservation (johnjames. audubon.org) at Mill Grove, the historic home and property of the famed ornithologist, opened this spring. The $16 million, 18,000-squarefoot center has permanent bird and wildlife exhibits, galleries for conservation and art, a theater and the outdoor Fledgling Trail, where visitors can follow the earliest stages of a bird’s life. The Historic House museum reopened in 2017 after a two-year renovation. LUKE FRANKE/JOHN JAMES AUDUBON CENTER

Philly Refreshed Historic city is booming with new and improved attractions

By Stacey Zable

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ITH SCORES OF UPDATES to many popu-

lar sites and added activities around town, “The City of Brotherly Love” is upping its game as a tourist mecca. Of course, there are the usual must-see attractions that include Independence Hall, the Reading Terminal Market, Valley Forge National Historical Park or the Rocky statue and steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but on your next visit, check out these new offerings. You’re sure to find more to love about Philadelphia.


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PENNSYLVANIA | PHILADELPHIA INDEPENDENCE VISITOR CENTER

A.WENDOSKI/VISIT PHILADELPHIA

FASHION DISTRICT PHILADELPHIA On Sept.19, Fashion District Philadelphia (fashiondistrict philadelphia.com), a massive retail, dining and entertainment destination covering 800,000 square feet from 8th to 11th streets in Center City, is scheduled to open. The expanded and reimagined property at the site of the former Gallery Mall will feature an eight-screen AMC Theatres multiplex, bowling venue with mega arcade Round1, local businesses, numerous eateries and, of course, plenty of shopping opportunities. In addition to at least 10 major retailers planned for the district, department stores Century 21 and Burlington are already open.

Begin your visit to the city at the Independence Visitor Center (phlvisitorcenter. com), which has undergone a $15 million improvement project that had been underway since 2016. The updates to the center in Independence National Historical Park will make exploring the city even easier with a new 42-foot digital “Philly Welcome Wall” with content accessible via touch screen. An expanded gift shop filled with Philadelphiathemed merchandise offers more reasons for a stop.

IF YOU GO Giuseppe & Sons: On Sansom Street, Giuseppe & Sons offers Italian food with a “fresh twist to the classics,” including handmade pasta and hand-rolled cannolis at either the luncheonette or ristorante. giuseppesons.com Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant: This regional chain’s location on Market Street serves a full menu of “scratchmade” food to complement its award-winning beers. ironhillbrewery.com

Cambria Hotel Philadelphia: The 223-room hotel in downtown Center City features the cool Attico Rooftop Kitchen + Lounge. cambriaphiladelphia.com; atticorooftop.com

PENN MUSEUM

TOM STANLEY/PENN MUSEUM

The transformation of the 130-year-old Penn Museum (penn.museum) continues with the newly restored Africa and Mexico and Central America galleries opening in the fall, as well as a brand-new Main Entrance Hall and updates to the 618-seat art deco Harrison Auditorium. Already renovated and open since April 2018 are the Middle East Galleries boasting 1,200 objects, more than half of which have never been on public display.

FAIRFIELD BY MARRIOTT

HISTORIC PHILADELPHIA

FRANKLIN SQUARE FOUNTAIN SHOW

JOAN MARCUS

FORREST THEATRE Hamilton fans can see the famed Broadway show Aug. 27 through Nov. 17 at the Forrest Theatre (kimmelcenter.org).

The colorful Franklin Square Fountain Show (historic philadelphia.org) premieres this summer after a $2 million update to the fountain built in 1838 in one of Center City’s original public squares at 6th and Race streets. The show includes music, lights and choreographed jet patterns.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Philadelphia: The 119-room hotel made its debut last year. The on-site restaurant Libertine offers a contemporary American menu and some 20 wines by the glass. marriott.com/phlcc; libertinephilly.com Four Seasons: The 219-room hotel is slated to open mid-2019 within the 60-story Comcast Technology Center, the tallest building in Philadelphia. It will include restaurants by award-winning chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Greg Vernick. fourseasons.com/philadelphia


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PENNSYLVANIA | LANCASTER COUNTY

FamilyFriendly Lancaster County has plentiful kid-focused fun

Duke’s Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland

DUTCH WONDERLAND

By Erin Gifford

S

ET IN THE HEART of Pennsylva-

nia Dutch Country, Lancaster County is well-known for its Amish heritage, including one-room schoolhouses, horse and buggy rides and handmade crafts. But lately, it’s been quietly drawing in families for more than its traditional attractions. Later this year, the first-ever Cartoon Network Hotel is expected to open adjacent to popular theme park Dutch Wonderland. Kids will be wowed by the whimsical hotel’s giant outdoor movie theater, lawn games and popular characters like The Powerpuff Girls. The theme

park has more for families, too, thanks to splashy new water play structures at Duke’s Lagoon. “Today’s Lancaster County is an appealing and diverse destination for families,” says Joel Cliff, director of communications and advocacy for Discover Lancaster. “We not only have our well-known Amish heritage, but great themed attractions and outdoor adventures for all ages.”

HANDS-ON FUN The Lancaster Science Factory (lancastersciencefactory.org) is bursting with fun, hands-on activities for kids. Thanks to more than 75 interactive exhibits, the whole family can make a day

of this gem. And now is the time to go. In March, the museum completed the first phase of an expansion that added 4,500 square feet, making room for a new Water Lab, Flight Zone and a Sustainable Energy Floor that generates units of energy as kids jump and dance. The center also added a Youth Maker Space where kids can imagine, tinker and build. “The reaction of our visitors to our newly expanded facility has been overwhelming,” says Amanda Bakay, director of operations. “Families are coming back again and again because each visit is CONTI NUED


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PENNSYLVANIA | LANCASTER COUNTY unique and fun. The adults have a lot of fun here, too.” The Turkey Hill Experience (turkeyhillexperience.com) in Columbia is another can’t-miss for hands-on learning and fun, as well as dairy deliciousness. Get the scoop on how Turkey Hill ice cream is made and create your own flavors in the Taste Lab by adding flavorings and toppings.

ENDLESS ADVENTURES Get out and get moving at Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center (refreshingmountain.com) in nearby Stevens. This mecca for physical fun boasts outdoor adventures aplenty, such as zip lines, archery and an elevated obstacle course through the trees. This year, a new 37-foot-tall Climbing Tower with seven climbing routes and two racing routes was added for even more fun. Next, head to Verdant View Farm (verdantview.com) in Paradise to see cows, goats, chickens and a playful farm dog named Scooby. Sign on as a farmer’s apprentice in a 75-minute experience that lets kids (and adults) milk cows, tour the barns, bottle feed calves and venture into the chicken coop. The farm also offers hands-on workshops that teach kids how to make artisanal cheese and craft soap from goat’s milk. Make it a weekend and book a farm stay at Verdant View to enjoy a delicious family-style farm breakfast each morning. ON TRACK FOR FUN Kids of all ages can toot their whistles at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (rrmuseumpa.org) in Strasburg, which recently underwent a $4.5 million expansion. Look for model and life-size trains on display, as well as kid-friendly Stewart Junction. Housed in a recreated freight station, Stewart Junction features a Lego train display, an operating telegraph and a railroad diorama. Across the street, board a steam train for a 45-minute round-trip ride on the Strasburg Rail Road (strasburgrailroad. com). Chug along on the oldest operating railroad that dates from 1832. Let the postcard-perfect scenery roll by on this 9-mile journey across farmland to Paradise and back. The National Toy Train Museum (nttmuseum.org) in Strasburg is another must-go for kids, boasting an impressive collection of working toy trains from the mid-1800s to present day. There’s also the Choo-Choo Barn (choochoobarn.com), known for its 1,700-square-foot model train display with more than 150 hand-built animated elements and 22 operating trains.

IF YOU GO

Book a kid-friendly stay at the Eden Resort & Suites in Lancaster, which boasts a playground, outdoor pool and splash zone, bocce court and half basketball court. The resort recently completed a $3 million renovation that included room upgrades across the property. edenresort.com Turkey Hill Experience

A stay in one of 38 colorful cabooses at the Red Caboose Motel in Ronks is a must for any conductor-in-training. Since changing ownership in 2016, this train lover’s paradise has begun to refresh all the caboose cars, added a gift shop and overhauled the menu at the on-site Casey Jones’ Restaurant. redcaboosemotel.com

Get some playtime in at Decades, a brand-new bowling alley and retro arcade in Lancaster with games like Donkey Kong and skee ball. Located in historic Stahr Armory, this complex wows with a Southern-inspired restaurant menu with comfort faves, including skillet cornbread and buttermilk fried chicken. decadeslancaster.com Refreshing Mountain Retreat and Adventure Center Kids will dig it when you grab a bite at DJ’s Taste of the 50’s. This Lancaster diner serving burgers, fries and shakes looks every bit like it’s straight out of the 1950s. When your kids order from the Little Squirts menu, their meals are served in a cutout convertible car food box. djstasteofthe50s.com

Lancaster Central Market PHOTOS PROVIDED BY DISCOVER LANCASTER

Add Lancaster Central Market, the oldest, continuously run public farmers market in the country, to your itinerary while in the area. Start your day with a cup of joe from Mean Cup and a Long John (an outrageously delicious rectangular filled doughnut) from Stoltzfus Homestyle Bakery. centralmarketlancaster.com


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NEW JERSEY | FOOD

Sand, Surf and Snacks Supersize your Jersey trip with tasty boardwalk bites

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By Chris Urie

Y

OU WORKED ON THAT beach body all winter.

Now that summer is here, it’s the time to fill up on carbs and sugar while you’re basking in the sunshine. The promenades and boardwalks that line the Jersey Shore feature culinary delights that will dazzle even the most experienced junk food fanatic. Many (OK, most) of these choices are classified by U.S. law as “foods with minimal nutritional value,” but your taste buds will thank you nonetheless. Here are some tempting treats that will make your beach vacation complete:

PIZZA

FUNNEL CAKE

A great slice of pizza has the magical power to uplift your soul, while pure satisfaction courses through your veins. Pair this perfect presentation of tomato sauce and cheese with a sea breeze, and you have the recipe for beach vacation memories. At the shore, you’re looking for something with a thin, crispy crust and a slightly sweet and tangy sauce marbled with fresh cheese. Keep the toppings simple: pepperoni, sausage and maybe some veggies.

Coils of batter wrap round and round, crisscrossing as they sizzle in the boiling oil. Shower that crunchy brown creation in powdered sugar, and you’ve got yourself a delicious boardwalk dessert. We have the Pennsylvania Dutch to thank for this delectable confection. First introduced by these Germanspeaking immigrants, the modern-day form of the funnel cake took shape around 1879. CONT I NU E D


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NEW JERSEY | FOOD

Water ice

Funnel cake PHOTOS BY CHRIS URIE

Deep-fried Oreos

Salt water taffy

Pro tip: Funnel cake is best eaten in your bathing suit, so you can simply dive into the ocean to wash off all that powdered sugar that’s inevitably gone everywhere.

DEEP-FRIED OREOS A man who deserves a million honorary Michelin stars is “Chicken” Charlie Boghosian, the Armenian angel who created the devilish deep-fried Oreo. Deep-frying anything has the power to enhance just about any ingredient: butter, Coca-Cola, Snickers bars. But the Oreo, quite possibly the most popular sandwich cookie on the market, is in a league all its own. A properly battered and fried Oreo creates the perfect contrast of fluff and crunch, the crispy outer shell giving way to the softened cookie nestled within. The interior has the consistency of an Oreo dunked in milk, making it a delight for anyone looking for a quick shot of sugar and carbs.

CARAMEL CORN A classic of the boardwalk for generations, caramel corn is a required crunchy snack while strolling between theme park piers. Originating sometime around the 1890s, caramel corn is deceptively difficult to make. The crafter has to expertly regulate the heat of the molten caramel without scorching the sugar, so that it evenly coats the popcorn. The result is a salty, sweet and crunchy mixture perfectly suited for munching while you walk to the next skee-ball destination. WATER ICE What could be more refreshing after a long day of riding roller coasters, playing whack-a-mole and walking along the beach than a fruit-flavored cup of icy cold goodness? No, not plain ice water. We’re talking about water ice, that concoction of ice, sugar, flavor and Technicolor food hues that has been dyeing tongues and

creating sticky fingers ever since it was brought over to the U.S. from Italy. While many brave vendors have created wacky flavors, we recommend sticking with the classic fruit offerings. This is another messy treat best eaten in a bathing suit.

SALT WATER TAFFY It has long been debated how salt water taffy, which originated in Atlantic City around the 1880s, got its name. One tale suggests a lazy candy-making assistant accidentally used sea water while making a batch of taffy. Another account claims a storm surge flushed sea water over the trays of taffy in a candy store. However it happened, we’re glad it became the signature confection of the Jersey Shore. Typically packaged with nostalgic style, salt water taffy is always a welcome gift to bring home to those who weren’t lucky enough to make the trek to the beach.


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DELAWARE | ATTRACTIONS

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge PHOTOS PROVIDED BY VISITDELAWARE.COM

Small but Spectacular Enjoy history, nature, beaches and beer throughout Delaware

D

ELAWARE, THE NATION’S SECONDSMALLEST state, is

frequently overlooked by travelers who have their sights set on Washington, D.C. But The First State — Delaware’s founding fathers were the first to sign the Constitution — has plenty to offer, from ocean beaches, rolling hills and the Chesapeake Bay to colonial villages, a wealth of historic attractions and tax-free shopping. Check out these offerings, recommended by USA TODAY’s 10Best.com editors, that you shouldn’t miss on your visit to this compact state:

WINTERTHUR MUSEUM, GARDEN AND LIBRARY In 1951, Henry Francis du Pont opened Winterthur, his childhood home, as the Winterthur Museum. Today, the 175-room house looks much as it did when the family lived there, showcasing nearly 90,000 objects made or used in the U.S. between 1640 and 1860. ▶ winterthur.org

BOMBAY HOOK NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, SMYRNA Hugging the Delaware Atlantic coastline, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge protects one of the largest remaining tidal salt marsh habitats in the region. Wildlife reside in freshwater ponds, uplands and other habitats. During the summer months, it is a mecca for wading birds such as herons, egrets and glossy ibises. Year-round, white-tailed deer, beavers, muskrats, red foxes, river otters, woodchucks and opossums call it home. ▶ fws.gov/refuge/bombay_hook


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DELAWARE | ATTRACTIONS REHOBOTH BEACH AND BOARDWALK The mile-long Rehoboth Beach boardwalk ranks among the city’s top attractions. Summer concerts in the bandstand set the mood for waterfront strolls past colorful shops selling kites, saltwater taffy, ice-cream cones and beach gear. ▶ cityofrehoboth. com/visitors/ beach-and-boardwalk

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY VISITDELAWARE.COM

DOGFISH HEAD CRAFT BREWERY, MILTON Beer lovers in Delaware are treated to one of the nation’s top craft brewery experiences — a tour of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. The Grain to Glass tour takes visitors through cold storage, the grain handling room, distillery, aging room and the Steampunk Treehouse. ▶ dogfish.com

NEMOURS ESTATE

NEMOURS ESTATE, WILMINGTON Nemours Mansion was the home of American industrialist Alfred I. du Pont. The 77room estate, set on some 200 acres of woodlands, lawns and meadows, is also home of the largest formal French gardens in North America and a collection of vintage cars. ▶ nemoursestate.org

ABBOTT’S MILL NATURE CENTER, MILFORD

AIR MOBILITY COMMAND MUSEUM, DOVER

The Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, situated on the grounds of one of Delaware’s last remaining water-powered mills, comprises 313 acres of largely undeveloped land with nature trails, a visitors center and a wildlife habitat demonstration garden. ▶ delawarenaturesociety.org/centers/ abbotts-mill-nature-center

Dedicated to military airlift and air refueling history, Dover’s Air Mobility Command Museum houses more than 30 aircraft of varying sizes, as well as exhibits on the humanitarian and war efforts of the U.S. military. ▶ amcmuseum.org

HAGLEY MUSEUM AND LIBRARY, WILMINGTON

HISTORIC NEW CASTLE

Situated on 235 acres in the Brandywine Valley near Wilmington, the Hagley Museum and Library occupies the site of a former gunpowder works that dates to 1802. Visitors take a step back in time to early industrial America to see restored mills, a workers’ community and the ancestral home of E.I. du Pont and his family. ▶ hagley.org

New Castle, one of Delaware’s bestrestored historic towns, features colonial houses lining cobblestone streets, where visitors can stroll, shop and eat along the Delaware River. ▶ historic newcastle.com


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MARYLAND | NATIONAL HARBOR

Refreshing Retreat There’s more to explore at popular National Harbor

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY NATIONAL HARBOR CONVENTION AND VISITORS ASSOCIATION

By Nancy Monson

L

OCATED ON THE EASTERN

shore of the Potomac River in Maryland, the National Harbor complex has plenty of the excitement you can find in nearby Washington, D.C., but without the bustle and bother. A 350-acre development that opened in 2008, National Harbor attracts more than 11 million visitors a year, and with good reason. In addition to the waterfront ambiance that permeates

all corners of the complex, foodies can choose from more than 40 restaurants, including Old Hickory Steakhouse, Succotash and casual eateries that include Amos Los Tacos and Crab Cake Cafe. You can also shop at 160 retailers, including major brands, outlets and specialty stores. There are plenty of things to do with or without kids: Park your car and walk or bike around the complex and surrounding trails or hop on a boat. CONTI NUED


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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION MARYLAND | NATIONAL HARBOR

Bob Dylan entrance at MGM National Harbor Casino TRACEY BROWN

WHERE TO STAY

Gaylord hotel fountain show GAYLORD NATIONAL RESORT AND CONVENTION CENTER

FESTIVALS OF FUN National Harbor hosts a variety of waterfront events, including family-friendly movies on a large outdoor screen every Sunday evening and date-night films on Thursdays. A signature event taking place Aug. 3 is the Water Lantern Festival, where you can decorate paper lanterns, light them and set them in the water, watching them drift away from the wharf alongside hundreds of other illuminated lanterns. The effect is magical. Other upcoming festivals include: June 15: The Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival June 22: La Fête du Rosé Aug. 24: The Crab & Beer Festival Sept. 2: The Chesapeake Oyster & Wine Festival

Take a spin on the Capital Wheel, a 180-foot-high rotating structure with climate-controlled, enclosed gondolas. Once aloft, you’ll have a birds-eye view of the river, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. You can also hop a ride on whimsical, carved creatures at the old-fashioned carousel. Or walk through the outdoor art gallery, featuring sculptures of famous figures and abstract pieces made for climbing. “Our outdoor art gallery is free and open to the public, and our mobile guide-by-cell tour brings the art to life,” says Deborah Topcik, director of marketing at National Harbor. “We’ve also added a scavenger hunt as a fun way for people to learn about history and the art.” The newest piece of the development puzzle is the MGM National Harbor

Louis Armstrong NATIONAL HARBOR CONVENTION AND VISITORS ASSOCIATION

Resort and Casino. Opened in December 2016, this luxury gaming resort has been quite the hot spot for those looking for a short getaway from the nation’s capital. The ritzy Vegas-style site features 308 rooms and suites with modern, elegant décor varying in size from 400 to 3,120 square feet and a luxurious contemporary salon and spa. Test your luck at the casino showcasing two floors and 125,000 square feet of gaming action, including poker, table games and more than 2,800 slot machines. A variety of bars, lounges, restaurants and shops await you, along with upscale and casual dining options from world-renowned chefs such as Jose Andres and Bryan and Michael Voltaggio. Be sure to go when there is a show scheduled in their 3,000-seat theater, which has hosted Bruno Mars, Cher, Jill Scott, Sting and more.

Eight hotels of multiple price points can be found within National Harbor (a ninth — a Hyatt property — is scheduled to open in 2020). In addition to the MGM resort, the other high-end hotel in the complex is the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, which is anchored by the chain’s signature lush indoor gardens and atrium. The venue offers special deals and events as part of its annual SummerFest. It’s also home to Relâche Spa, one of the largest day spas in the region; a 24/7 fitness center; and restaurants and shops. Other lodging options include Wyndham Vacation Resorts, AC Hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites, Harborside Hotel, Residence Inn by Marriott and Westin.


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MARYLAND | BALTIMORE

XXXXX

Charmed City Fun and fascinating things to do in Baltimore GETTY IMAGES

By Tamar Alexia Fleishman

B

ALTIMORE’S HISTORY, GREAT ARCHITECTURE, walkable neighbor-

hoods and generous benefactors all contribute to a vibrant city with both classic and ever-evolving things to do. Many of the area’s attractions are centrally located in a dense and purposeful area of the city: the Inner Harbor. Here are some activities to top your itinerary when you visit:

NATIONAL AQUARIUM The National Aquarium is a very popular destination attracting visitors of all ages, so admission is staggered to ensure everyone can see the marine life. Exhibits start with fish and crustaceans native to Maryland and expand to more far-flung, exotic creatures. On the top floor, you’ll find a recreated tropical rainforest with the flora and fauna typical of that ecosystem. The aquarium offers special behind-the-scenes tours that include critter encounters, interesting presentations, exhibits and shark and dolphin sleepovers. ▶ aqua.org


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MARYLAND | BALTIMORE FORT MCHENRY NATIONAL MONUMENT AND HISTORIC SHRINE

VISIT BALTIMORE

The National Park Service rangers at Fort McHenry breathe life into the 1814 Battle of Baltimore by sharing how troops stopped a British invasion and safeguarded the freedoms we all enjoy today. Summer is an especially good time to visit the fort, with daily ranger talks and weekend living history: The Fort McHenry Guard performs drill, musket and artillery demonstrations. Fort McHenry is also where the still-flying American flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. ▶ nps.gov/fomc

WASHINGTON MONUMENT AND MOUNT VERNON PLACE Baltimore was the first to start construction on a monument honoring George Washington. Make arrangements to climb its 228-step spiral staircase for lovely views of the city skyline or take a walking tour. Located in what was historically the toniest neighborhood in the city, its surrounding cross of green space is still a beloved place to gather. It’s the site of fireworks and concerts for the Christmastime lighting of the monument, as well as the annual springtime Flower Mart. ▶ mvpconservancy.org/the-monument

BALTIMORE’S CALLING CARDS Here are five of Charm City’s most distinct features and characteristics:

1. Seafood Steamed crabs and crab cakes are probably Baltimore’s greatest claim to fame, and you’ll likely find “best crab cakes” written on just about every other menu in the city. Although there are many viable contenders, there is no definitive bearer of that crown. The fun of it all is researching amongst the hundreds of restaurants that call Baltimore home and offer some of the finest seafood in the Mid-Atlantic region.

2. Charm City

SEAN PAVONE/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

Baltimore has worked hard in recent years to change its traditional rough-around-the-edges identity, and make its city ever more travel- and tourist-friendly. A 1970s tourism campaign where Baltimore worked to rebrand itself was successful in coining the area “Charm City.” It’s still affectionately known as B-more for short, however, over the years the “Charm City” nickname did stick while its downtown area moved toward rebirth and revitalization.

3. Johns Hopkins University VISIT BALTIMORE

BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART This exciting art museum has free admission daily. Outstanding art collections are arranged both chronologically and geographically. Be amazed at the sheer number of African, Asian and ancient American works of art. Two courtyard gardens are home to 20th-century sculptures, as well as Jazz in the Sculpture Garden events. In addition to its permanent collections, BMA hosts a wide range of temporary exhibits. The gift store has a wonderful variety of books on fine art, as well as crafts, jewelry, clothing, stationery and other curios. ▶ artbma.org

TAMAR ALEXIA FLEISHMAN

PEABODY MUSIC LIBRARY The nation’s oldest music library — part of Johns Hopkins University — is one of the largest. Its holdings include some of the rarest and earliest musical manuscripts, as well as sound recordings in every format. Librarians bring books to readers in the stunningly beautiful interior flooded with natural light and adorned with stately Corinthian columns. In the summer, this popular wedding venue is only open on weekdays. ▶ library.jhu.edu/george-peabody-library

On the academic landscape, Baltimore is best known for the esteemed Johns Hopkins University. With its collection of campuses and divisions sprinkled throughout the city, the institution has a stellar reputation for academics and medical research, and its presence adds educational distinction to the city. Johns Hopkins Hospital is world-renowned.

4. The Inner Harbor The centrally located Inner Harbor is the nucleus for Baltimore tourism and a major landmark. Many of the city’s

popular and larger hotels populate the area along with award-winning restaurants and ethnic eateries. Although there are other excellent places to rest and refuel in smaller neighborhoods throughout the city, the Inner Harbor is a one-stop spot where it can all be done within walking distance. The Harbor and streets within its immediate vicinity are home to shopping, dinner cruises, nightlife, outdoor entertainment, museums and other area attractions.

5. Pop culture/TV and film Film directors and hometown boys Barry Levinson and John Waters consistently keep Baltimore on the screen. A handful of Levinson’s most wholesome movies — Liberty Heights, Avalon, Tin Men and Diner — were set in Charm City. Quirky director Waters featured the Hampden, Pigtown and Canton neighborhoods in his iconic film Hairspray (forever elevating the cultural status of beehive hairdos and cat glasses). He’s shot all his films in Baltimore, including Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Cry-Baby and Serial Mom. The city’s darker side was featured in television hits such as NBC’s ‘90‘s police drama Homicide: Life on the Street, HBO’s 2000 miniseries The Corner and the 2002-2008 drama The Wire — all based on the writings of former Baltimore Sun police reporter David Simon. — Tawanna Browne Smith

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WASHINGTON, D.C. | OUTDOORS

National Mall ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

Outdoor Adventures Get off the beaten path and experience D.C. hot spots By Gina Gallucci White

W

ITH SPRING IN FULL

bloom and summer on the horizon, there is no excuse to be stuck indoors in the nation’s capital. Put the phone down, grab some sneakers and venture forth; you will find a number of can’t-miss

activities that provide opportunities to marvel at the natural beauty available to visitors and residents. Whether you choose to hike to enjoy nature or just sit and wonder at it, the nation’s capital will not disappoint with its abundance of outdoor activities. CONTINUED


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WASHINGTON, D.C. | OUTDOORS

KENILWORTH AQUATIC GARDENS

U.S. NATIONAL ARBORETUM

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (nps.gov/keaq/index.htm) was originally owned by Civil War veteran Walter Shaw. Longing for his home state of Maine, he had wild water lilies planted on the estate. He later started W.B. Shaw Lily Ponds, which was visited by presidents and politicians. The area was bought by Congress in 1938 and is now run by the National Park Service. Visitors today will find a wide variety of lotus and lily flowers, wetlands and wildlife that will make you forget you are not very far from downtown Washington. Be sure to check out the annual Lotus and Water Lily Festival in mid-July, featuring hands-on activities and performances.

The nation’s capital is crammed full of museums, monuments and federal buildings, but for those looking for a quiet getaway inside the District’s borders, head to the U.S. National Arboretum (usna.usda.gov). The 446-acre campus features examples of, and information about, a multitude of tree, shrub and herbaceous plant species. Admission is free, and you can walk, drive or bike through the 9.5 miles of roadway inside the arboretum. Scientists there have developed more than 650 plants through years of research. Download the arboretum’s mobile app to take special tours, see what’s in season or navigate the grounds during your visit.

ROCK CREEK PARK

THEODORE ROOSEVELT ISLAND AND MEMORIAL

There are so many things to do at Rock Creek Park (nps.gov/rocr) you may need more than a day to complete them. Encompassing nearly 1,800 acres, the park features more than 32 miles of hiking trails, a bevy of roads and trails for cyclists and multiple picnic spots to savor a tasty meal. Check out the free ranger-led astronomy programs at the planetarium or grab a racket for a friendly game of tennis. Got a horse? Take it through paths totaling 13 miles or sign up for a guided horseback trail ride. Let the kids frolic at the playground or head to the Thompson Boat Center to rent kayaks, canoes and small sailboats on the Potomac River.

Perhaps most remembered for his conservation efforts, it is only fitting that the nation’s 26th president would have a living memorial. In the 1930s, crews transformed the overgrown farmland site, then known as Mason’s Island, into the Theodore Roosevelt Island and Memorial (nps.gov/ this), an oasis of trails, forests and swamplands. Each trail is named for the habitat it passes through including swamp, upland and woods. Catch one of the ranger-led programs and bring your binoculars for wildlife viewing. Kids may also earn a Junior Ranger badge by completing tasks in their program book.

NATIONAL GALLERY SCULPTURE GARDEN

C&O CANAL NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

The works of Leonardo da Vinci, Auguste Rodin, Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas are quite enchanting, but before you make your way inside the National Gallery of Art (nga. gov/visit/sculpture-garden.html), be sure to check out its memorable sculpture garden. See outdoor installations like Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Typewriter Eraser, Scale X and Joan Miro’s Personnage Gothique, Oiseau-Eclair. Look, but don’t touch. The 6.1acre garden is open year-round and beginning in May, the garden hosts a free concert series every Friday evening featuring jazz artists.

Before the days of planes, trains and automobiles, goods made their way across the region via the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (nps.gov/choh). Stretching 185 miles and hugging the borders of three states, this travel route dates to the early 1800s. Declared a national monument in 1961 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the canal is now a national historical park. Bicyclists are common on the trails so if you are walking be sure to share the path. Another great activity here is taking a canal boat ride offered by the National Park Service.

PHOTOS BY ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES


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VIRGINIA | HISTORIC EVENTS

Quadricentennial Celebration Virginia marks 400th anniversary of critical moments in American history

PROVIDED BY AMERICAN EVOLUTION; GETTY IMAGES

T

HE YEAR 1619 WAS pivotal in

the establishment of the first permanent English colony in North America — Virginia, specifically. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of that and other notable occasions, the American Evolution organization is sponsoring a host of programs that highlight Virginia’s role in

American history. Museum exhibitions, musical and dance performances, panel discussions, and monument and memorial dedications are scheduled through the end of the year to promote themes of democracy, diversity and opportunity. Other historic events that will be highlighted include the arrival of the first recorded Africans to North America at

Point Comfort (modern-day Fort Monroe) in late August 1619; the significant recruitment of women to build permanency in the Virginia colony; the first official English Thanksgiving in North America in the Berkeley Hundred settlement on Dec. 4, 1619; and the passage of laws that nurtured the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the new colony.

For more information, go to americanevolution2019.com.


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VIRGINIA | ROAD TRIP

Purcellville LOVEworks, Loudoun County VISIT LOUDOUN

Summer of Love Tour Virginia to celebrate state’s 50-year-old ad campaign

By Erin Gifford

T

HERE’S JUST SOMETHING ABOUT a road trip, and now

is the time to set your GPS for Virginia as the state marks the 50th anniversary of its “Virginia is for Lovers” campaign. The well-known slogan was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009, alongside AOL’s Running Man and the Budweiser Clydesdales. This summer, the Old Dominion celebrates “50 Years of Love” over 50 days — from June 21 to Aug. 10 — and even beyond in some parts of the state. “As we celebrate, our local partners

will share with visitors everything they love in Virginia,” says Andrew Cothern, communications manager, Virginia Tourism Corporation. “Plan to attend music festivals, enjoy outdoor recreation and explore historic attractions.”

LOVE, NORTHERN VIRGINIA STYLE Start near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., which inspires visitors to get up and get out on its many paved and unpaved trails. Bike along the Mount Vernon Trail and make a picnic stop at Gravelly Point Park to watch the airplanes take off and land at Reagan National Airport. Bring a Frisbee and CONTI NUED


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VIRGINIA | ROAD TRIP

Virginia Be LOVEw ach orks

MANDI

FLOWE

RS-YOS T

SELFIE STOPS

Richmond Speedway LOVEworks VIRGINIA TOURISM CORPORATION

stay awhile. Make Loudoun County your next destination for award-winning wine blends and varietals, like those at 50 West Vineyards in Middleburg. To highlight local events as part of the state celebration, a vintage Volkswagen van will traverse the county throughout the summer, serving as a mobile visitor center, making its final appearance at The Lindsay VW Summer of Love Music Festival at B Chord Brewing Company in Round Hill, where you can sample brand-new 50 Years of Love beer and wine. Cheers! “We created a campaign that captures the cultural touchstones of the 1960s and highlights everything that people love about Loudoun today,” says Beth Erickson, president and CEO of Visit Loudoun. “From our agricultural community and historic towns to our robust music scene and craft beverage industry, this tour showcases the experiences that make Loudoun unique.”

FOR THE LOVE OF RICHMOND Meander over to I-95 and head south to Richmond. Here, a brand new LOVEworks sculpture will be unveiled at Short Pump Town Center. This public artwork joins five others in Richmond, making the state’s capital a desirable and efficient destination for people who are eager to snap and share LOVEworks sculptures (oversized LOVE letters) on Instagram. People such as the FloYos. Yes, the FloYos. Also known as the Flowers-Yost family, Matt and Mandi have been photographing LOVEworks sculptures across Virginia since 2017, often with daughters Lili, 21, and Savannah, 9. To date, they’ve shared more than 130 LOVE letters on Instagram (@MattAndMandiKindOfLove). Mandi notes there are at least 240 LOVEworks, though half that appear on the state tourism website (virginia.org/love), and they are always on the hunt for new ones. Beyond LOVE-ly art installations, Triple Crossing Brewery in downtown Richmond plans to cap off the summer

with a 1960s-themed party in August. Bring a growler (or two) to take advantage of limited-edition 50 Years of Love beers on tap from partner breweries.

BEACH-BOUND SUMMER LOVIN’ Get on I-64 and gear up for more to love about Virginia as you make stops in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, two of the state’s most popular destinations. In Williamsburg, new attractions await at Busch Gardens, like the high-flying thrill ride Finnegan’s Flyer. At Water Country USA, located within the park, the Cutback Water Coaster, the first hybrid water coaster in the state, debuts. Once you reach Virginia Beach, dig your toes in the sand to celebrate the end of a fun-filled road trip. But before you do, make time for colorful murals that have been added in the ViBE Creative District. The Cape Henry Lighthouse, which dates back to 1792, reopened in May after a $1.1 million restoration. As you can imagine, it’s truly something you will love.

Having criss-crossed the state more than a few times, here’s what prolific LOVEworks Instagrammer Mandi Flowers-Yost says you’ve got to see on a Virginia road trip: Stop in the Old Lucketts Store in Loudoun County’s tiny hamlet of Lucketts for some of the best antiquing around, as well as a photo opp with a favorite LOVEworks sculpture (Flowers-Yost’s 100th) located on the side of the store’s Design House. Just off I-95, the small waterside town of Occoquan is a must-stop on its own thanks to quaint boutiques, ice cream shops and a waterfall. There’s even a LOVEworks installation in the local park. In Richmond, take a break at Tang & Biscuit. It’s a social shuffleboard venue and a hip lunch spot. Not sure how to use a cue and disc? Oh, they’ll teach you. Grab a cup of joe at Lift Coffee Shop & Café in Richmond’s Art District. Here you’ll find an original set of Angel Wings by renowned artist Colette Miller. Vibrant and captivating, the NEON District in downtown Norfolk is absolutely worth exploring for large-scale murals and eye-popping colors and creativity. Stop by the Norfolk International Airport for a photo with the Love is in the Air LOVEworks sculpture, which happily welcomes and sends off travelers. — Erin Gifford


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WEST VIRGINIA | DESTINATIONS

DID YOU KNOW?

3,030 feet in length, the New River Gorge bridge is the longest single-arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere

VISIT SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

Time Travel Explore the past and experience the present in wonderful West Virginia

W

est Virginia is often considered one of the more scenic states in the nation, and several of its beloved attractions center around its natural beauty. But it is also home to a bounty of Civil War history, grand resorts, culinary fare and architectural sites. Get a taste of the many facets of the Mountain State with these can’t-miss recommendations by USA TODAY’s 10Best.com:

PLAY Whitewater rafting, rappelling, caving and kayaking are a few of the activities that await family adventurers at this resort in the southern part of West Virginia. Located along the rim of the New River Gorge within the state’s spectacular three-national-park region, Adventures on the Gorge (adventuresonthegorge.com) has a range of lodging, from riverfront luxury homes and cabins to platform tents and bunk beds. The New and Gauley rivers offer some of the country’s best whitewater rafting, or you can try paddleboarding, hike in the Eastern Hemlock Forest or experience the resort’s aerial adventures such as zip lining and canopy tours.


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WEST VIRGINIA | DESTINATIONS EXPLORE Tucked into the mountains of West Virginia lies the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park (wvstateparks. com/park/cass-scenic railroad-state-park),

TERRA CAFE

EAT Step into just about any bakery or convenience store in the Mountain State, and you’ll likely find a fresh batch of a much-beloved regional food item, the pepperoni roll. This sandwich-like snack consists of a soft yeast roll with pepperoni slices baked inside. The sandwich was first crafted by Giuseppe Argiro, who came from Italy to work in the coal mines near Clarksburg. Giuseppe noticed that many immigrant miners would eat a slice of bread with some pepperoni on top for a quick lunch, and he decided to try baking the pepperoni right into the bread. A legend was born. Unlike most others in the state, The Donut Shop (thedonutshop.com) in Buckhannon makes pepperoni rolls with shredded pepperoni instead of sliced (and they don’t skimp on it either) and melted cheese. Everything at Home Industry Bakery (facebook.com/hibwv) is made from scratch daily in their Clarksburg kitchen, including their popular pepperoni rolls. Terra Cafe (terracafewv.com), one of Morgantown’s top spots for pepperoni rolls, makes their award-winning variation on-site daily.

SMOOTH AMBLER SPIRITS CO.

CASS SCENIC RAILROAD

STAY The Greenbrier (greenbrier.com), a National Historic Landmark in White Sulfur Springs, has been hosting prestigious guests since well before the Civil War. Located about 250 miles from the nation’s capital, the resort opened for business in 1778 and has since welcomed more than two dozen presidents. It features a massive underground bunker built during the Eisenhower administration to house Congress in case of a nuclear attack during the Cold War. Today’s visitors still come for the world-renowned mineral spa and enjoy luxurious accommodations, spa treatments and exclusive entertainment.

DRINK The American craft whiskey scene has come into its own over the past few years, expanding beyond the traditional Tennessee and Kentucky bourbons to include ryes, single malts, blends and white whiskeys made with a combination of old-world and newschool techniques. Smooth Ambler Spirits (smoothambler.com) in Maxwelton uses fresh mountain water and hand-selected grains in crafting its line of five whiskeys. The flagship Old Scout American Whiskey is a blend of whiskeys distilled from bourbon mash bills, one aged in new oak and the other in re-charred bourbon casks. Old Scout Single Barrel Bourbon is bottled at cask-strength and Old Scout Single Barrel Select is a low-rye bourbon mash bill from Tennessee. The Big Level Bourbon incorporates wheat and malted barley into the mash, while Smooth Ambler Contradiction is a blend of classic and wheated bourbons. Smooth Ambler offers on-site tours and tastings, and its Whiskey Wagon is scheduled to make stops at a variety of festivals this year.

where visitors can take a ride back in time aboard a steamdriven locomotive once used to haul lumber. Trips depart from the town of Cass and take visitors to Whittaker Station (two hours round trip) or all the way to Bald Knob (4.5 hours round trip). The stop at Bald Knob, the third-highest point in the state, is at an overlook that rewards riders with exhilarating views and fantastic photo opportunities.

THE GREENBRIER

CHRIS WAGNER

ADMIRE No road trip through the state would be complete without viewing an oversized fiberglass statue. We all have dreams, and George Farnham dreamed of owning a giant dinosaur in his yard. His wife, Pam wasn’t fond of the idea, but she had a thing for Muffler Men (large sculptures used as advertising icons or roadside attractions), and thus, a compromise was born. What started with one 25-foot statue turned into an obsession. Today, the Farnhams are the proud owners of The Farnham Colossi (facebook.com/pages/The-FarnhamColossi/1565037903826281) in Unger, home of Muffler Man, Beach Dude, Big John the bag boy and bikini-clad Uniroyal Gal. The statues are located on private property, so calling the owners before visiting is recommended.


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

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USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

VIRGINIA | BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

MAJESTY IN MOTION Considered “America’s most scenic drive,” the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia through North Carolina to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, makes for a beautiful drive no matter the season. This section is located in Big Island, Va., a small community along the James River north of Lynchburg. The parkway meanders through changing vistas, offering stellar mountain views, nearby hiking trails and plentiful picnic sites.

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GO ESCAPE MID-ATLANTIC 2019  

GO ESCAPE MID-ATLANTIC 2019